Whispering Winds


sharath komarrajuThe Winds of Hastinapur

Author:               Sharath komarraju

ISBN                     978-93-5116-087-8

Publisher             Harper Collins

I have not enjoyed a book so much in a long time.

Krishna here’s the Queen’s rival, a bard of another kind.

The author narrates the oft sung story of Great War, but it is through the eyes of the women. Consciously or unconsciously the author has drawn deeply from the Devi Bhagawatam and the shakti cult.  The fundamental concept of Devi Bhagawatam, of eternal balance if good happens somewhere it is at the cost of negative happening elsewhere, for goddess does not play favourite, she exacts her price sometime, somewhere.

The story of Mahabharata is not the story of men, but also the story of women. It is the story of the decline of an era.  The author opens the story at a point where Ganga is cursed by the Gods for an earthly life. He takes us through the well-known corridors of Mahabharata.

Narrating the story of Ganga, he talks of the matrilineal genealogy. He has brought forth some really interesting concepts and descriptions like the description of teenaged Devrata, he does not eulogize him as embodiment of great looks, and he describes a genuinely awkward teenage boy.

The celestial lake, being energized with the energy of dead humans, another very interesting concept. The negativity of the demigods, manifesting as disease on the earth is another interesting concept. The author has every subtly used the Matsya Nyaya, or the law of the jungle more respectably called survival of the fittest.

The women Ganga and Sathyavati court their man Shantanu in a very pre-Aryan form, where women demanded sex from men, and if a man refused he sinned. The pre-puritanical acceptance of multiple partners, marriage being independent of sex and childbearing emerges through the book without apologies or justification or elaborate explanation.

Of course there were some goof ups like children of the fisher folk going to the same school because the education system then was gurukula, so going to the same school didn’t happen unless they were looking for identical skill sets. The vaishya, shudra learning happened in the months of the monsoon when work at the fields was not possible.

Bhishma here is not the glorified hero, but a king despite of not crowned one.

//kitabikida.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/harpar-collins.jpg”>harpar collinsThe concept of virginity as Sathyavati perceives it is an eye opener. “Being pure in thought and action. Being unafraid as long as your action has nothing immoral about them.”

But Sharath your story is incomplete without the story of Kunti, Draupadi, being said.

About: http://sharathkomarraju.com

My Feudal Lord.–Book review


Author Tehmina Durrani

ISBN 978-0-552-14239-7

Publishers Transworld Publishers (Corgi books)

The autobiography of Tehmina Durrani the Pakistani activist.

The book chronicles her journey from a docile protected Pakistan girl, to being the whistle-blower of the elite Pakistani society. The price she paid for it, she had to sign away all financial support, lost the custody of her children, alienated by friends and disowned by parents.

Tehmina Durrani, born to an elite Lahore family washes dirty linen in public sharing her life from being a sheltered daughter, marrying into a respectable family, having children and leading a leisurely life. Her personal demon of insecurity and the middle child syndrome shows up evidently through the book.

The book allows the reader a voyeuristic view of the domestic structure and feudal form of Pakistan. It is interesting to see the vast difference in the social environment and etiquette in the beginning of the book and its evolution towards the end of the book.

Intrigue within the family, illicit fairs, pedophilia, sibling rivalry, a conflict of tradition and the need to rebel all screams through the book on the domestic front.

She lays bare her nightmarish second marriage to Mustaf Khar the eminent Pakistani Politician without allowing him vindication. He is portrayed as violently possessive and pathologically jealous. Mustaf Khar appears to isolate her from the world outside for almost fourteen years.

The political activity at Pakistan plays an interesting backdrop. The highly westernized Pakistan elite and their dual lives is very evident

The book is definitely Tehamina’s story, with Mr.Mustafa Khar playing the Villain. When first published it shook the Pakistani society to its foundation. Here is a woman who apparently has succeeded in reconciling her faith in Islam with her ardent belief in woman’s rights.

Lif-tick lore


We were in class three, the parents day, our class was to perform the folk dance called Koravanji.

The checked cotton sari’s collected beads chains and ear hoops, colourful flowers, bells on the feet. Mothers had diligently packed the list the teachers gave and we went to school “half day” on reaching the school in “colour dress’ we were huddled into the van “according to class and height.” Finally we reached the KMC physiology auditorium where the event was to take place.

The class teacher assisted by some mothers and “Bhasha” the make-up man were busy getting ready. Our faces done and hold your breath, that bright red goovy stuff that went on our lips called the lipstick the excitement ran high. Once the lipstick was applied, we had to ensure that it stayed so we ate such that our lips didn’t touch or else our “lif-tick” would fade.

Eating the goodies was a feat that would shame the Punjabi aunties eating Golgappa at Paharganj.  The lips were at a perfect”O” through the eating valiantly we spoke maintain the”O”

There was something very enticing about the lipstick, a forbidden charm. Kajal in the eyes was acceptable but lipstick screamed “fast girls” Older girls did apply lipsticks on occasions so that they would look more dressed up than every day.

Lakme in the early 80’s went plebeian they came up with a range of nail colours of sober pinks and baby blushes which the mother’s of teenagers found acceptable. It made them feel progressive “oh! I allow my daughters wear nail polish but it has to be sober colours.” Baby blush was the colour.

Lakme went smarter still, with two nail polish you got a lipstick free, thus lipsticks landed on the dressing table of very respectable teenager.

The sheens, the coco butter one, the nudes its fun.

Once lipstick gained acceptability and respectability it has became indispensable, I remember using it as a blusher substitute, or eye shadow substitute, there were times it helped out as a bindi too, remember the original Golmaal?

 

 

A Mythological Bhel


indraThundergod- The Ascendance of Indra

Book 1 of Vedic Trilogy.

ISBN 978-93-81626-97-9

Publisher’s          westlandbooks.in

Author                  Rajiv Menon.

A book based on Indian mythology. It looks like he is trying to recreate the Aryan invasion. The book talks about the deification of the Vedic pantheon, with the assumption that the Vedic pantheon has its origin in the middle Asian ancient civilization. He has used the ——– mythology.

Though an interesting read, it does not allow the reader to really connect to the Vedic pantheon. He is diligently abstained from the Bhagawatization by using clutches of Rama or Krishna which is interesting.

In the context of the Harapan civilization he refers to nature worship which is the authentic faith of the subcontinent before being conveniently classified as a ubiquitous Hindu.

However there are gross patches in the narration like the practise of sati, which is hinted at, it, does not make sense as the ancient civilization practised remarriage and polyandry even if we were to talk in terms of the mid Asian civilization.

The physical description of male and female beauty is more in tune with contemporary build, the concept of pear shaped voluptuous women is unknown to the author, a quick run of Botticelli, Ravi Verma and temple carvings may revive it.

The decor, the life style that dictates the walk and wear of a society is quite distinct but the author has not been able to overcome the colonial symbols of grandeur.

There were very interesting twists like the saptarishi’s being light bodies, the emerges of pishacha’s as people with infected blood. Maybe some research is required over that, for paisachi or the language of the pisacha’s are accepted both in literature and mythology. The use of Valli the community name of indigenous medicine makers.

The legends of vishwamitra and Kashyapa are reinterpreted, with Indra being the chosen one to unite the sons of Aditi the presentation reminds one of the lost tribes of Israel.

All the best if you are planning to read the trilogy.

About The Author. Rajiv.G.Menon has been an avid reader, Actor, Screenwriter, traveler, beach bum. The book has been inspired by his readings on Indian, Norse and Greek Mythology.

Imp at the Laptop.


jack in the inkpotImp in the Laptop.

“Ink, a Drug.”
― Vladimir NabokovBend Sinister now it is taken over by the Laptop,  The journey began with the type writer, then came the desktop, then the laptop, and now the tablet.

“…there was practically one handwriting common to the whole school when it came to writing lines. It resembled the movements of a fly that had fallen into an ink-pot, and subsequently taken a little brisk exercise on a sheet of foolscap by way of restoring the circulation.” said― P.G. WodehouseThe Politeness Of Princes And Other School Stories its the same today..we call it the PC font. The Times Roman of size 12, everything is the same. no more scraggy writings or the spider scrawl.

I dance on your paper,
I hide in your pen,
I make in your ink-stand
My little black den;
And when you’re not looking
I hop on your nose,
And leave on your forehead
The marks f my toes.
This is what I all always thought about my pen. I collected that precious Parker pen and would write with it on what seemed as important. With Lenny the Lenovo in my life the jack in my inkpot has stopped singing–
When you’re trying to finish
Your ‘i’
With a dot,
I slip down your finger
And make it a blot;

And when you’re so busy
To cross a big ‘T’
I make on the paper
A little Black Sea.
For now my t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted instantly and silently by Lenny.  Yet Lenny is into healthy eating, so blotting paper or penwiper pie. I never need try!!, Lenny leaps any distance and uses any ink, provided I feed in a printer. My thoughts are out on the screen before I can wink!!

I drink blotting-paper,
Eat penwiper pie,
You never can catch me,
You never need try!
I leap any distance,
I use any ink,
I’m on to your fingers
Before you can wink.

logoBut Lenny’s maker still asks what would I like Lenny to do for me, well, Lenny prints for me, Lenny carries message, Lenny store’s my memory Lenny stores my texts.

I no more have to struggle with camera’s and Bluetooth, Lenny does that too, in his Yogic form.

I can be topsy-turvy, but Lenny stays straight. If anything I wish Lenny grow into a phablet.

Chronicle of a shared kind.


pitto's worldPittho’s world

ISBN 978-81-7223-934-3

Author Murtaza Razvi

Publisher Harper Collins:

About Murtaza Ravi (1964-2012)

The introduction to Murtaza Razvi on the title page of the book says 1964-2102, I do not know if it is in competent proof reading or a reflection of the author’s agelessness.

The book opens in the not so perfect of Shieku and Rani.  Set in the changing society of Pakistan.

The novel is at a much laid back pace allowing the reader to visualize, contemplate and to a certain extent even experience the book.

The book could be the experience of sixties born person in the big fat neighborhood of Pakistan that is what the author calls us! Through the book the author recreates the character of cities and towns.

The describes the celebration of Nauroze the Persian new year a celebration that went on for 13 days, one colour for each day until all the thirteen colours were covered. To me nauroze was the festival of the Parsi community and was divorced from Islam.

As Shieku presents his lineage linking him to the Persian Syed’s he talks of his Nani, the maternal grandmother. She would probably be as old mine, as he describes her penchant for smoking Craven’s cigarettes, I remember my own grandmothers more liberal view than my mothers, who like Shiekhu’s mother is all about being the conventional Hindu daughter-in-law.

The book is memoir of a fading genteel Pakistani life to the more aggressive and ugly way of life inspired by America. The more westernized open lifestyle of Karachi Muslims, at people has the tendency of hating the majority who rule.

The author talks about a pre-independence Bangladesh, which was East Pakistan, where his father started his career. With the Bangladesh becoming independent there was the second influx to Pakistan, and an interesting observation that he makes here, the way people tended to hate the majority who ruled.

Another really relevant observation is seen in the story Uncle Tom and Gavi, that the concept of wife is basically a governess who doubles a wife.

In the memoir of Lala’s death he talks of how city life and education has taken away our more tolerant and natural response and reaction.

When talking of the big bad city of Karachi focuses on the subtle observation of a so called tolerant society, and how people inquired about religious, ethnic, political affiliation before fraternizing, use of words that subtly differentiated the Muslims from non-muslims.  Returning to roots is also unsettling as the familiar is familiar but yet unfamiliar.

Pittho’s  is just a symbolic representation of a bygone Pakistani society, Murtaza uses the traditional storytelling technique of introducing the character before letting him or her manifest, like he talks of Lala in Pittho’s world and gives his story in Lala’s death.

The book is a reflection of changing moral and ethical values resulting in a changing society. Sheiku’s experience at college. The college at Lahore addressed its students as “Great Ravians” by the faculty which he claimed was very empowering he actually uses a similar notice one from Lahore and one from Karachi College and brings out the difference.

harpar collinsThe book reaches its end, with the islamization of Pakistan which the author credits to CIA. And the transition of a tolerant, gender equal open society to a gender segregated closed society. Suddenly the Sari which as a favourite wear of the Pakistan woman became Hinduà that is Indian. Good morning and goodbye were replaced by Khuda hafiz and assalm aleikum.

As Murtaza Razvi says “I have nothing to talk about all has been said.” The book is the collective tale of the subcontinent.

The book was a complimentary copy sent by Harpar Collins for reviewing.

A Bard retells


aryavarta chroniclesGovinda,

Author: Krishna Udayshankar.

ISBN 978-93-5009-446-4

Genre Mythology

First of the Aryavarta chronicles, a retelling of Jaya. A mildly interesting variation of the traditional Mahabharata.

The story charts the power fight between the Fire Wrights and Firstborn. The lineage of which is chronicled in the early pages of the book. The first book of the unnumbered chronicles focuses on Govinda the prince who became cowherd and relapsed into being prince. He is addressed as Govinda Shauri.

Draupadi being the pivotal character, the standard events are presented differently. The standard characters are also unrecognizable as their traditional names have been dropped. Karna barely makes his presence felt.

The sexual tension between Draupadi-Arjuna and Karna is replaced by her fascination for Govinda, who reciprocates but does not acknowledge the feeling.

The much ignored characters of Mahabharata on television like Ashwathama, Shikhandi are strong characters in the rendering of this bard.

Does tease a contemplation to buy the next book in the series “The Fire Wrights.”

https://www.facebook.com/thearyavartachronicles